You're Already There - Christine Kane

I just did a talk at a luncheon series called Women Inspiring Women. I performed a few songs and talked about what it has taken to follow my dream. I talked about fear and breaking out of comfort zones. I tried to dispel the myths that are often woven around the idea of pursuing your passion.

It never fails. Just before I’m about to step onto a stage or up to a podium to do something like this, a little voice jumps into my head and says, “You can’t do this! You’re not THERE yet!” And briefly I think, “Oh my God, that’s right! I’m not THERE.”

Is there a THERE? And when we get there do we get to sit back on our chaise lounge with our umbrella drink and say, “Ah. Thank God. I’ve made it! This is it! I’m THERE!”

Of course not.

No matter when I step up to talk about my life or my work or what I’ve learned, I will always be in the process of growing, expanding, and shifting. There will be lots behind me – and lots in front of me. If there weren’t, I wouldn’t be stepping up to a stage, I’d be getting lowered into the ground.

The idea of THERE is yet another one of those stupid things we think we have to be before we’ll let ourselves do what we love — to teach or sing or write or create or meditate or talk in front of people or vacation or do whatever. We keep raising the bar for what THERE is.

This is a very convenient way to keep yourself stuck in your comfort zone. And admit it, that’s a very safe place to be!

The Two Ways We Use THERE Against Ourselves

1 – What you Won’t Give Yourself UNTIL you’re THERE — (Or, Withholding)

In her book, Brenda’s Wardrobe Companion, Brenda Kinsel talks about women who refuse to go shopping for clothing because they’re holding out until they’re a size 8. She encourages readers to “dress for the body you’re currently in.” She says, “I don’t know a single woman who hasn’t said, When I lose weight I’ll go shopping, but not until then. Your body wants to be happy in clothes now. And it can be – right now – exactly as it is today.”

Where do you withhold from yourself while waiting for THERE to appear? What is your THERE? Is it a size 8, 4, 2 or zero? Is it a lover, husband, girlfriend, soul mate? Is it a better singing voice, speaking voice, more wisdom, or more information?

If these ARE your THERE’S then what’s stopping you from setting a goal to reach them? Or if you know you’re just being harsh (continually waiting for the 10 pounds to come off til you let yourself go to the beach), then are there small ways you can begin to love yourself HERE, and not THERE? Can that be your dream?

2 – What you won’t let yourself TRY until you’re THERE (Or, Fear.)

My friend Lisa Sarasohn just had her first book published. It’s going to be in O Magazine next month. She’s a fantastic healer and she has been working on this book as long as I’ve known her. (We both moved to Asheville at around the same time.) The bar is rising in her life. She’s having to step up and say, “Hell yea. I know my stuff!”

Is she scared? Of course! (She told me that one night she was so scared, she listened to my song Right Outta Nowhere over and over just to get herself through her fear.) Does it look like she’s THERE from the outside? Yes. Does she feel like she’s THERE? Most likely, not always. But she’s going for it anyway.

I’ve learned that there are so many ways we make ourselves small with this idea of THERE. I love to see people go for it anyway. The first time I was asked to speak at a conference, I was terrified. I kept thinking, “Shouldn’t I be bigger or shouldn’t I be Oprah before I do things like this?”

You know the answer, don’t you?

(I got to see Oprah speak in Raleigh, NC, and one of the first things she said to the audience is “I’m no different than you. I am a woman in process.” And that’s the key. We are each in process.)

This isn’t to say that if The Millionaire’s Club wanted me to speak at their annual meeting all about how to make a million dollars in the music business that I’d say yes and lie my way through the talk. I’m not encouraging fraud. (Though as I mentioned in yesterday’s post, I did just win a million dollars.)

Most of us are guilty in some way of shrinking just enough so that we deny our power and our abilities because we’re not THERE yet.

What is THERE, Anyway?

When I first started playing guitar, my whole entire dream was “just to be able to play a few songs in my room or for other people.” Then when I learned a few songs, my dream was “just to play in some bars.” I wanted to be that cool. And then I had a schedule full of playing in bars. Then I wanted to play in coffeehouses or even listening rooms. When that happened, I wanted to do opening acts, and on and on.

At any given time there was a lot I had learned, a lot of wisdom I had gained, and a lot I had yet to learn.

But THERE never happened.

What I’ve come to realize is this: a lot of us want THERE to be somewhere where WE are NOT. We want to leave ourselves (and all our worries and fears and pettiness) behind and be free from our stuff. (When I wanted to play in bars, I wanted to be a little more like Janis Joplin and I was so disappointed when she didn’t appear and I remained myself!)

But I finally got it. And here’s a big chunk o’ wisdom I give to you free of charge.

No matter where you end up, or what dreams come true for you, you never leave you behind. You always bring you with you. So, of course it feels like you never get THERE. Cuz you’re still here!

This doesn’t mean you don’t set goals or reach for things or set out in the direction of your dreams. It just means that it doesn’t end anywhere. The other side of the “you always bring you with you” coin is this: that who you are shifts and transforms and grows. That is the real magic. And that is the whole entire point of doing anything.

Then, as what you know about gets bigger and expands, you approach your goals and dreams with all of that knowing and context in mind. Your dreams become richer and more suited to you. (I never liked bars anyway! And hello? I’m SO not Janis Joplin!) You start to value all the things you’ve discovered about yourself and say no to things that don’t work. You recognize fear as a teacher. When your dreams are in alignment with this great thing that you are, then they manifest much more easily. THERE slips away and becomes HERE. And here gets to be pretty cool.

So, begin where you are. You’re already there.

  • christine

    Hi Maria, I’m with you. You gotta just keep reminding yourself about that right now stuff. And success IS really a state of mind. (and obviously you’re doing pretty well there since you have EIGHT blogs!)

    Barb, Hey, you can go on as long as you want in these comments. No need to edit at all. I know your path and I’ve seen how far you’ve come. And yes, when it comes down to it, the poems are for you. (Same with songs for me.) congrats on all your success too…

    Hi Stephanie, Wow. Thanks for such a kind and thoughtful note. I’m happy to hear you were in the crowd at the Bele Chere show. (It was HOT!) And I’m even happier to know that my songs and words are a part of your healing. That’s why I do it at all. (those little coincidences like you and the mini-cooper are just the best, aren’t they?) You’re right…no coffee for me. But maybe some green tea! It’s really an honor and a hugely touching experience to read the words you’ve written. It sounds like you’ve come mighty far in this process. Keep me posted, and get back to Asheville soon. It’s a great place to be still.

  • Stephanie

    Christine –

    I was at your concert on Sunday at Bele Chere. All I can say is THANK YOU! Your music reached the dark places in my heart that so desperately needed to know light and healing. I was visiting a friend for the weekend and she said that I would love you – and she was right.

    I’ve been struggling with all the feelings that go with ending a relationship, and am absolutely certain that I was led to your concert to help that process. Now, reading your blogs, I am even more sure. I’ve been struggling with trying to get THERE and being miserable HERE.

    I told my friend that I feel like a bird that has been caged and is now soaring – that’s how my soul feels. Thank you for being a part of my freedom.

    Now I need to share with you a validating moment. I was driving to work this morning, and listening to you. I kept repeating the song “Right Outta Nowhere” because it speaks to me right where I am. I looked up, and right in front of me was a mini cooper with a license plate that read TO B FREE. Isn’t that absolutely amazing?

    I can’t wait until I have time to sit down and absorb all of your blogs. You are such an insightful woman. The next time I’m in Asheville perhaps we can sit down & chat over some coffee. OH! Wait a minute. I remember seeing one of your blogs that spoke of living without coffee – another thing that I’ve known I needed to do. I guess that should be my next read. 🙂

    Thank you, Christine. You have such a gift – and ARE such a gift to those whose souls you touch.

  • barb

    second try and it will be alot shorter. The bar is like a jump in a jump-off at a horse show. THe bar keeps getting a bit higher until someone knocks it off. For us artists, the bar just goes a bit higher so we keep growing. A synopsis: poems for me only-
    poems for therapist /friend who forced me to a writing conference-found a teacher-published one and then a few more-lost that teacher-found another one-got a chapbook published-she quit students to write for herself more-got a new teacher -working on another chapbook barb brooks (mercifully shorter reply)

  • Maria Palma


    I remind myself everyday of this… Really – all we have is right NOW. I think if each of us realized that we are actually living our dreams now, we’d all be much better off in terms of happiness and well-being.

    I used to think that I would be “successful” when I made such and such amount of money, but you know what – success is just a state of mind and you are not defined by how much you have or what you have…as long as you are doing what you love, that’s success!

    Thanks for a great post!

  • christine

    Hi Tammy, Thanks for the note! I had a performance yesterday so I just now caught Mike’s blog which was very sweet. Time to go discover more bloghers… It’s so funny that you wrote about feeling like an imposter. For the first few years of performing, I fully expected someone to march up to the stage and pronounce me a fraud. I can only imagine how I’d deal with being in academia… And yes, it is ridiculous that we say these things to ourselves.

    Hey there Ellen. Thanks for the note. My tour calendar has all the updates on talks and shows I do… maybe next time! I appreciate your kind words…

  • Ellen Weber

    It’s women leaders like you who motivate the rest of us to continue out from from THERE to THERE and at the same time to find lots to celebrate along the way. What a wonderful stury! Wish I could have attended your talk!

  • Tammy Lenski

    Christine, I just found your blog thanks to Mike Sansone’s blog about we women bloggers. I want to echo what you’ve written here, as it’s such a common thing for women to experience (men too, though I hear women berate themselves more about it) and not unfamiliar to me personally. I distinctly recall sitting down at my new desk years ago when I was named dean at a women’s college and thinking, “Gee, I wonder how long it’ll take them to figure out I’m an imposter?” Ridiculous, isn’t it?

  • Susie

    For sure, I’ll keep chasing the rainbow…for me, that’s the most fun part!

  • christine

    Wow Susie! Thanks for the thoughts. As far as the rainbow goes… my thoughts are to go ahead and go towards it, but don’t forget to look at where you are now and stay in this present moment. And don’t use the end of the rainbow as a reason why you can’t be happy now (cuz you’re not THERE yet.) I absolutely KNOW that taking action does lead to happiness, so I’m glad to hear you’re going for it….

  • Susie

    Howdy Christine!
    To me, trying to get “there” is like trying to chase a rainbow, and who wouldn’t want to chase a rainbow? It’s the ideal place to be: bright, cheery, colorful, warm and fuzzy, and safe with a pot of gold at the end. We will try to catch a rainbow and the pot of gold by taking many paths and modes of transportation. Several times along the chase, we may change our paths and what we learn from changing our paths, or modes of transportation is where the real pot of gold can be found.

    We all have dreams and goals and we all want and deserve to reach them. But unless we all live on the show, “I Dream of Genie,” we can’t just wiggle our noses and have our dreams magically appear. However, when you believe in yourself then that is when you’re “there” and from that revelation you and your dreams can go anywhere, with a little bit of work along the way of course. Yes, there are bumps and bruises along the way but if we appreciate ourselves at those moments for giving ourselves a chance, then we can pick ourselves up, learn from the bumps and bruises and carry those lessons with us on our path to our dreams.

    Reaching our dreams is a wonderful feeling, but appreciating the lessons along the way is where I’ve found the real fruit of success to lie. I’ve played small before and I still get easily intimated by the “big world of THERE.” But when I have taken leaps of faith in myself on where I want to be, I’ve been much more happy and have learned more along the way then when I’ve played small. Wiggling our noses might be the sweet and easy way to reach our dreams and catch the rainbow, but it’s not as fulfilling and rewarding as creating our own paths and earning our own happiness.

    Wow, sorry for such a long response, but you had a great post that sparked a lot of thought. And I loved David Jackson’s analogy with the commercial. 🙂

    P.S. Even though I think Janis Joplin is great, she’s a one-of-a-kind and so are you and I’m sure many will agree with me when I say we’re glad you are you!

  • christine

    Thanks David. It’s good to hear you say all that. And yes, I guess this comes down to being in the NOW at all times. 29 and a half years? Yes, I’d say you have a successful career! (Eckhart Tolle says that you can’t become successful because you already ARE success. I love that.)

    Hi Susanne…You got it. Waiting for permission is the ultimate trap. No one ever taps you on the shoulder and says, “You’re it.” Only you can do this!

  • Susanne

    Christine, you’re so right.

    I’ve been spending years and years in my life waiting for somebody to give me my “musician’s license” until I finally realized it will never happen. And it doesn’t matter. Being a musician is not about being good or bad. It’s about the music.

  • David Jackson

    I have 29.5 years in a large corporation, and I still find myself wondering from time to time when I will have a “successful career”. Over the course of the last couple of years I have come to understand that the focus of my career needs to be generativity. The best thing to do is to build the people around me and the people I can reach into better people, and have faith that they will take care of what has been, to this point, my life’s work.

    Kokopelli invented “you’re not THERE” to trick us all into believing we need to be some time else, or someone else, or some size else, or … you get the picture. You can never should have done something. Waiting until you’re THERE robs you of NOW.

    There is an add on television (yes, I still watch, mindfully) that shows people in several conference rooms, considering new strategies. Each group uses, “What would the guys at the other company do?” to spur their thinking. The series of scenes goes from small company to large, and finally the large company points back to the first two person company and says, “What would the guys at THAT company do?” While you are busy admiring other people and looking to be inspired, others are looking at you and thinking, “I wish I could be THERE, where she is.”

    This is the story of “It’s a Wonderful Life”. If you can be present and realize that you ARE, and then look around you at the lives you touch, you will know that there is no THERE to get to.